In a pastoral letter marking the beginning of Advent, Archbishop Julian Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, called on Catholics to leave aside superficial matters and to focus on preparing to celebrate the birth of the Son of God.
“We should strive to not let the superficial prevent us from entering deeply into the richness and truth of the love of God,” the archbishop wrote. “Christmas is a mystery of the faith to which we must draw near in humility, awe and joy in the silence of our contemplation,” he added.
Archbishop Barrio explained that the most significant figures of Advent are the prophet Isaiah, John the Baptist, and the Virgin Mary, “because they lived in eager anticipation with hopeful trust in the mercy of God.”
Men and women today get caught up in the daily routine of life, in pursuit of successful careers and superficial entertainment, losing track of the true meaning of life, the archbishop wrote.
He called on the faithful to place their hope in Christ, in order to rediscover the true spiritual meaning of Christmas, to restore Advent devotions in the home and to participate with great faith in the sacramental life.
“Contemplating the birth of Jesus strengthens Christian hope, making it a source of love and service to neighbor,” he wrote in conclusion.